One of the first publicly known image-generating “AI” projects was Google’s Deep Dream, and app.wombo.art is apparently really called WOMBO Dream.
You know that thing where supposedly, you can’t read text in your dreams, except sometimes you can for plot reasons? And that thing where, when these art AIs try to incorporate text, they often get the letters either subtly wrong or completely garbled and cryptic, just as other forms do? Well. I think such comparisons between AI generated stuff and the off-kilter nature of dreams are pretty spot on.
In last night’s dream my spouse and I were on a road trip, caravanning with a couple of people from my past and at least one fictional character. We had stopped in some unnamed city for a few days and I didn’t really have anything to do, but was talked into going exploring around the neighborhood. And so I did, but for some reason I was carrying an XBox under my arm, in its cardboard box as if I had just bought it, while worrying about being robbed. But without incident, I found a shop that, in the anti-logic of dreams, had interesting electronic music gizmos but also random other stuff. Mostly old and well-worn if not completely ruined, or at least questionable. But fascinating nonetheless.
A partial listing of some of that stuff:
- A box labeled “chill tell mill” in just slightly weird text. I think it was an oracular set of chimes… however that works… with a slightly toylike presentation. For whatever reason, I kept getting drawn back to those. Maybe it’s the name.
- A series of packaged home decor labeled “No More Noisy Europe!” The one on top seemed to be a pink wooden hanging sign advertising donuts. The main logo was legible but the explanatory text was not, except for the word “Bavarian.”
- A highly damaged and incomplete circuit board with the text “SUPER JUPITER” (which is the nickname of an actual Roland synth, the MKS-80) which was supposedly really rare in this dream world and they wanted thousands of local currency units for it, despite it just being in a heap of junk with parts falling off.
- A very sketchy box that said “CONTROL SYNTH” and what I vaguely recall as a legible but syntactically nonsensical list of features. Inside was a wooden box with vaguely blobby glass tubes, like a twisted dream version of my Nixie clock — but oversized and distorted, painted silver, quite a bit scratched up, and studded with small yellow LEDs.
- Several cylindrical televisions, wedged in place with piles of books to keep them from rolling away.
- Aisles and nooks of stuff where the space between the shelves was too narrow for people to normally fit to browse them, so naturally, people obligingly shrank themselves to look at it. I couldn’t figure out how and I was jealous of them because it look like there was more fantastically weird junk (some of it tangentially musical) that I couldn’t get to.